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LIV President's Blog 2012

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10 Tips for corporate lunching during the silly season

10 Tips for corporate lunching during the silly season

It’s that time of the year again and you’re probably starting to receive an influx of Outlook invitations to client lunches or starting to organise them yourself. These affairs can be a little awkward to the inexperienced, so here are our 10 tips for successful corporate lunching during the silly season. 

1. Confirm details in advance
If you’ve been invited to a lunch by a senior practitioner, check with that person a few days in advance to confirm time and venue. The details of the lunch may have changed without your knowledge and it’s not a good look arriving late or to the wrong location. 
2. Dress in corporate attire 
This tip is pretty self-explanatory but it’s a good one to always keep in the back of your mind. Check out our blog Is personal style the new black for tips
3. Time and place – work out in advance how to get there and make sure you’re early
If you’ve never been to the venue before make sure you find out where it is in advance. Allow yourself an extra 15 minutes or so for travel to cover unforeseen circumstances such as traffic and car park dilemmas. 
4. Turn off your phone or put it on silent and don’t leave it on the table
Keep it in your bag or suit pocket. You want the client to feel like they have your undivided attention. 
5. Be confident in your greeting and always maintain eye contact when engaging in discussion
A good firm handshake coupled with eye contact is essential for making a good first impression – it shows confidence. The article, ‘What your handshake says about you’ contains some interesting insights from business experts on how to master the handshake.  
You should also always maintain eye contact throughout discussion. Ask yourself - how have you previously perceived people who prefer to stare at the napkin in their lap instead of you whilst engaging in a conversation?
6. If you’re having a social conversation, don’t bring up business forcibly 
Allow the conversation to flow into business matters naturally and it will happen with time if there is something in particular that you and the client need to discuss. E.g. avoid greeting the client, sitting down and saying, “Right, now let’s get down to business”!
7. Order foods on the menu that will allow you to maintain conversation and eye contact
This has happened to me before so I am talking from experience; there is nothing worse than being distracted from your company because you’re trying to avoid dripping sauce on your clean white shirt!
8. Know and understand your alcohol limitations
There’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine in the company of your client and more senior practitioners but don’t go overboard. If you know that you’re likely to feel tipsy after 2 glasses then only drink 1. 
9. Send a thank you note after the lunch
An email thanking the client for an enjoyable lunch and wishing them all the best for the holiday  season and a Happy New Year is a nice touch. But be mindful that every client is different and not all celebrate Christmas so the usual ‘Merry Christmas’ is not always appropriate. 
10. Remember to have fun! 
Lunching should be an enjoyable experience – not only is it an opportunity to get out of the office and enjoy a nice meal but you’re getting to know your client on a more personal level (and often celebrate business achievements in the past year) which is great for building rapport. 
Do you have a tip for corporate lunching during the silly season? 
Written by Cassandra Piacentini, LIV Young Lawyers’ Section. 
You should also check out our blog from last year, Christmas Parties – 6 Essential Do’s and Don’ts
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Cassandra Piacentini
Thanks Cam!
25/11/2013 12:27:25 PM

Cam Forbes
Nice blog Cass with very practical tips that are so useful at this time of the year!
21/11/2013 10:26:13 PM

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